You guys know I’m relatively new to blogging. In fact, I only really started in January doing it “full time” and writing reviews started a little earlier (but not much). So far, I’ve read a lot of books that I’ve really enjoyed. And of all the reviews requested of me, I have pretty much liked all of them. Well, this book..not so much.
I struggled with what to do in the situation. I know negative opinions are only natural and I can’t love every book. *shrug*
I can see this book being enjoyed by many readers. It just didn’t fit my taste. However, I can’t judge it based on others’ tastes—that would be guesswork. I can only judge it based on my own tastes. In fact, when deciding whether I wish to review a book, I go to goodreads and read the reviews. I did this with this particular book (only had a few reviews at the time, all 5 or 4 stars). I read a 4 star review saying that ‘if you love fantasy and historical fiction you will love this book!!’ Well, I happen to love both genres a lot. I saw most other reviews conjectured the same.. So I accepted the book for review. This reviewer was saying that because he/she didn’t like those genres they were rating the book based on their guess of someone who DOES like the genres …and, well, I’m not blaming this one review. I am glad I read this book, it did have some redeeming qualities that kept me reading through the end (slowly, very slowly). I just thought it was relevant that exactly what I was contemplating doing with my review (giving a little leeway because others would I’m sure like the book) –is something I can’t believe I even considered!
I needed to get that out. I’m sure many of you seasoned book-bloggers find all this old hat. :brow I just wanted to vent..and well, needed to explain because this is my first 2 star review on my blog that was a review request. Maybe now the world knows I am capable of disliking books, and reviewing them nonetheless. ;)
Fargoer by Petteri Hannila
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Fargoer was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
This book is reads as a series of short stories; with each chapter consisting of a different theme. It was mostly a short story format, yet some seemed more like chapters—while others took huge leaps and bounds and were definitive short stories.
Fargoer has some really strong redeeming qualities. I love Vierra (the main character). I really do. She's strong, resiliant, and unique. She has strengths, weaknesses, quirks, etc. I found her very real. I think anyone who can create a character like Vierra has a lot to be proud of. I know writing strong characters can be really hard. And this was a big one for me. She kept me reading. I genuinely wanted to know what was going to happen to her. For a character that was part of an ancient tribe (of female leaders) at the time of the Vikings...I am surprised I didn't feel more a disconnect (how can I relate?). The fact that I didn't feel a disconnect with the characters is pretty cool. Another good thing was the historical aspect. As a lover of historical fiction, I appreciate when novels are written factually without seeming to read like an encyclopedia. It felt real. It felt true. These are very important qualities in a novel. I also loved how each "chapter" had unique artwork at the beginning (it foreshadowed the tone of the chapter). That was really cool. I've always been interested in female tribes that were dominated by females and the males filled the role that women do in our society. I really loved how Vierra got to "choose" her husband, and the way that their tribe (and others that the story covered) came into contact with. It was really impowering. It was also wonderful to see the Vikings in a different light--from the tribes of the land they invaded. I can't think of any other novels I have read with this subject matter.
Most of the time I was having a hard time getting into it because I'm not too fond of the native/aboriginal hunter/gatherer type stories where it's like 'she caught the fish with one quick thrust of her spear' --or some narrative like this. It's a matter of taste, I guess. If you like learning about ancient cultures in an extremely descriptive way that could pass for nonfiction-- then you may find it more interesting.
The other thing I have to point out is pacing. The pacing needs work. There were times where I simply couldn't put it down..I wanted to know what happened to our Vierra! Then...(more often) I was so bored and had to force myself to go back to the story. I thought to myself, why wasn't this spread out a little better? If it was, I would stay interested for longer. Towards the end, a lot of events occur. This could have been maybe introduced earlier so the middle sections weren't so dry.
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All in all, I am glad I read Fargoer. I'm glad I stuck with it because the last few chapters were gold. As a whole I found it to drag on; with big chunks of story having little importance or interest. I prefer my historical fiction/fantasy books with more fictional elements. If more fantasy elements were added in (more witchcraft, etc) I would find the book more engaging. I loved the characters; they were nothing short of amazing. People who are looking for a book about tribes and Scandinavia/Vikings will be more inclined towards this book.